Pictured above is Members of the Limerick Marine Search and Rescue, one of the 51 charities who benefited from the Court poor box. Picture: Alan Place.
A lump sum of €40,600 was distributed to charitable and voluntary organisations across Limerick in 2015 through the Court Poor Box scheme, according to figures published this week.
The payments received by the 51 organisations ranged from €200 to €3,000 according to the Courts Service of Ireland.
The highest receiver of a single donation was The Redemptorist Poor Campaign, which received €3,000.
The money was formulated by individuals who were prosecuted and brought before the courts for minor offences that would likely not lead to a conviction.
These offences would normally be minor drugs offences, public order offences, first time and offences against property or animals.
“The option of paying into the court poor box arises usually where the offence is minor in nature and would not attract a custodial sentence,” said a spokesperson for the Courts Service.
Public order offences are often the most common offences for which the poor box option is given to defendants. These include breaches of the peace, intoxication or disorderly conduct in a public place, threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place or failing to comply with a direction from An Garda Síochána.
The option of the poor box is at the discretion of the presiding judge and in most cases it is the judge who decides where the money goes.
The Poor Box donation is also used for minor road traffic offences that do not carry penalty points.
If the prosecuted fails to comply with the donation within the number of months allowed, a fine will be imposed with a recorded conviction.
A handful of numerous groups who received funding from the Poor Box last year were Milford Care Centre (€2,000), Daughters of Charity (€2,000), Limerick Youth Service (€1,650) and the Samaritans (€1,500).
On a National level, almost €1.3m was paid to 724 different organisations in 2015, a significant drop from €2.18 million in 2014.
Read more about the Court Poor Box scheme here.
Check out The Redemptorists Poor Campaign here.
Read more about Limerick Marine Search and Rescue here.